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Gender Neutrality


Men’s Rights Movement in India has become bigger and stronger; for all the RIGHT reasons.

December 16, 2012 witnessed a case that would go down in Indian History. Entire country was on streets. I would be crazy if I even try to calculate number of hours on TV and columns in print, dedicated to this episode. On December 12, 2012– exactly four days ago, a mother and a daughter (well educated) brutally murdered a Mumbai businessman and cut him into 17 pieces. The case was never discussed by the media.

On April 20, 2015 Delhi and India woke up to the news of AIIMS doctor committing suicide allegedly due to torture by her allegedly gay husband (I take care to mention alleged over here because the media jury has already declared him a gay.) Her suicide note on Facebook was shared by millions. Again, number of hours dedicated to the news on TV, debates on the topic and editorials written would be tad too difficult to count. As per media reports, accused was arrested immediately and a case of dowry death, 498A was registered.

On February 26, 2015 Awadhesh Yadav committed suicide in Jhansi leaving a three page note describing harassment by his wife and in laws. OnMarch 19, 2015 a young doctor Subhadeep Khan injected himself to death alleging that he was a victim of false dowry case on him and his family by wife and was threatened to settle the case with huge amounts. On April 28, 2015 a man Pradeep committed suicide in Haridwar as his wife demanded 50 lacs. Just three days ago, a man in Delhi shot himself with a pistol leaving a four page suicide note detailing harassment by wife and gender biased women centric laws. Barely few days after AIIMS doctor suicide, a wife chopped her husband into 100 pieces with the help of her lover in Delhi itself, but neither this nor any of the cases mentioned above got any mentions in the national media or got discussed over debates!

I am sure you also in all probabilities would have not heard about these cases. No wonder. How would you when media never showed it to you? How would you when media never discussed these cases. How would you when there are no debates on these deaths. How would you when a man’s life is considered so cheap by the system, society and media that no one blinks an eye when such cases happen and are usually passed as ‘exceptions.’

Amidst this stark reality where lives and deaths of men due to gender biased laws and violence by women are being ignored, on May 5, 2015 – I witnessed a new dawn. A new dawn of the men’s rights movement in India. More than 1000 men, women, senior citizens, kids gathered at Jantar Mantar to unanimously raise their voice against atrocities on men in this nation where apparently as per the constitution no one should be discriminated on basis of caste, creed, religion or GENDER! The All India Protest was organized under the aegis of Save Indian Family Movement with several NGOs working for distressed men participating in it.

The demand was scrapping of the most abused criminal provision under Indian Penal Code – IPC 498A in the wake of government making the law compoundable to apparently control the abuse which in reality would only lead to more misuse and formation of Men’s Commission and Ministry of Welfare for Men. Men’s Rights Movement in India that started more than a decade ago is growing stronger day by day as more and more men and their families fall prey to gender biased provisions, no hearing to their plight by any government body and failure of state to provide any protection to them when they are the ‘victims.’

As per NCRB, in 2013, 21000 married men committed suicide due to “family problems” specifically. Women rights activists disgustingly tag these deaths as farmer suicides. None of the deaths I mentioned above were of farmers but bright young men who dreamed of a great future before they got married. These suicides are not registered with a specific tag like “dowry death” for women. I wonder if a man’s suicide due to threats of false criminal cases and demand of huge money is anything but “Dowry Death”.

Despite so many deaths, there is not ONE law in India that recognizes men as victims of intimate partner violence. Even the Domestic Violence Act that is Gender Neutral across the world is only for “women” in India. While there is a ministry for women, children, chemicals, animals, textiles etc there is no Ministry for Men. There is not a SINGLE helpline by the government in India where issues of men are heard. Men who are victims of Acid Attacks do not get similar attention or compensation as women who are victim of this crime. As per an NGO iProBono, male victims of child sexual abuse receive much lower compensation as compared to girls. Even after glaring evidence of misuse of women centric laws, there is not a single scheme by government where men falsely accused and honourably acquitted get compensated for loss of money, dignity, respect and career. Why not when it is the STATE that tries them under a false case sans any evidence of their crime? Why not when it is the STATE that fights on behalf of a woman while a man has to run pillar to post to prove his innocence despite being falsely accused?

Even if we keep the aspect of false cases aside, half of the population of this country has no representation of their ‘gender’ issues. No researches are conducted in India looking at concerns that men face. Surprisingly, even the National Family Health Survey gathers data only on violence against women but not men. Men are not even ‘asked’ if they are abused in a relationship. And when Men’s Rights Activist ask them why they do not do so, NFHS replies their software doesn’t have those questions designed like that!

A female Journalist during the May 5 protest asked me, do you accept violence against women is more than violence against Men? I ask her to give me one law that records violence against men for me to be better suited for that answer and she doesn’t have anything to say.

BUT – now many are saying, expressing, protesting and demanding. Men’s Rights Movement in India is stronger than ever before and here to stay. Not only men but several women are joining this force as extreme gender bias prevails in the society with due support from feminist organizations.

It is high time government listens to these voices of dissent against the discrimination, lest we have such protests in every street of this country.

Article Courtesy : Niralee Nirlipta, Senior PRO & Content Writer